DS9 #5: Fallen Heroes
© 1994 Dafydd ab Hugh
The day everyone on Deep Space Nine died started like any other: Sisko sat in his office brooding over intelligence reports, O’Brian and Kira were overworked, Dax sat happily at the science station watching the wormhole open, and Odo harassed Quark over his latest scheme — this time, to auction off a locked box of goods from the Gamma Quadrant. Hoping to catch Quark selling cultural artifacts, he forced Quark to open the book so that the contents could be examined. One particular object defied description, but once activated threw the pair three days into the future — where DS9’s once-bustling promenade has fallen deathly silent, its hallways and corridors strewn with littered corpses and evidence of explosions. Something terrible happened in those three days.
When I picked this up, I thought the description of a ‘silent DS9’ meant that everyone had vanished from the station. I wasn’t expecting to witness the brutal death of everyone onboard — including civilians and children — at the hands of a heavily-armed squad of alien commandos claiming to seek a captured comrade. ab Hugh divides chapters between Odo and Quark’s perspective and the perspective of the DS9 crew in the ‘present’, who are powerless to find out what the commandos want or to resist them. The security mooks are first to go, but no one who engages the aliens lives — and given their meticulous search, no one who hides will long escape a merciless execution. It’s up to Odo and Quark to figure out how to get back and prevent this assault before it begins.
This is book five of the numbered Deep Space Nine stories: though set early in the first season, ab Hugh manages to avoid any conflicts with future continuity. Only Odo’s dialogues came off as odd, though Kira’s tendency to compare the invaders to Borg drones is also peculiar, given that she’s never had contact with them. I picked this up because I’ve read ab Hugh before (my first Star Trek read was his Vengeance, which I remember with fondness), and he doesn’t disappoint. Though morbid, most of the book reads like an action thriller.
I didn’t pick this up for ‘scary readings’, but reading about 500+ murders in 16 hours, including those of my favorite characters, made this seasonally appropriate.